Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

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Highlights

Superconducting Twisted Bilayer Graphene—Magic not Needed?

07-16-20

A new study shows that superconductivity in twisted bilayer graphene can exist away from the magic angle when coupled to a two-dimensional semiconductor. "Our observations were quite unexpected. It implies that we only scratched the surface of graphene twistronics. These are exciting times for the field," says Stevan Nadj-Perge, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics and Materials Science. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights KNI Stevan Nadj-Perge

Ishani A. Karmarkar Receives 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

06-22-20

Applied and computational mathematics student Ishani A. Karmarkar is a recipient of the 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. Ishani is interested in data science and numerical algorithms, as well as applications to physical problems. This summer, she will be working on a SURF project on graph-based semi-supervised learning algorithms with Bamdad Hosseini, Senior Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate, and Andrew Stuart, Bren Professor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. In the past, she has also worked on a fluid modelling project with Sandra Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, and completed a summer internship at Facebook. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT MCE CMS Henry Ford II Scholar Award Sandra Troian Andrew Stuart Ishani Karmarkar

Optical Microcomb Device May Result in Improved Telecommunications, Sensors, Clocks

06-19-20

Modern telecommunications often makes use of multiple lasers of different colors to transmit data, but a new device the size of a cigarette pack can replace them. A team of researchers from Caltech, UC Santa Barbara, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a new device that will lead to improved optical data transmission and could have applications ranging from communications to the miniaturization of time standards or to the search for exoplanets. Their device converts laser light of a single frequency into an evenly spaced set of many distinct frequencies (a comb of frequencies). The resulting optical frequency microcomb is built from a single piece of silicon, in much the same way as computer chips. And its many colors can replace many separate lasers for data transmission. "The new approach makes the process as easy as switching on a room light," says co-author Kerry Vahala, Ted and Ginger Jenkins Professor of Information Science and Technology and Applied Physics and executive officer for Applied Physics and Materials Science. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights Kerry Vahala KNI

Wei Gao Receives IEEE EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award

06-16-20

Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, has won the 2020 IEEE EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award for innovative and pioneering contributions in the field of bioelectronic devices from wearable biosensors for continuous personalized health monitoring to synthetic micro/nanorobotics for in vivo biomedical applications. This award is given annually to an individual for significant contributions to the field of biomedical engineering as evidenced by innovative research design, product development, patents, and/or publications made by an individual who is within 10 years of completing their highest degree at the time of the nomination.

Tags: APhMS honors MedE KNI Wei Gao

Chengzhe Zhou Receives 2020 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award

06-11-20

Chengzhe Zhou, a graduate student in Physics supervised by Sandra Troian, Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering, is a recipient of the 2020 Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award. His doctorate research focuses on the development of novel theoretical and computational tools for quantifying the nonlinear evolution and control of moving liquid boundaries driven by external fields. He hopes his findings offer new and useful analytic tools for investigating emergent small-scale dynamic phenomena in strongly driven nonlinear systems. The Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award is given to an EAS graduate student in hydrodynamics who has distinguished himself or herself in research.

Tags: APhMS honors GALCIT MCE Richard B. Chapman Memorial Award Sandra Troian Chengzhe Zhou

Professor Gao Named Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum

05-26-20

Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering, has been selected as a 2020 Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum. Each year the selection Committee honours 25 Young Scientists under the age of 40 in recognition of their contribution to cutting-edge research. Candidates are selected based on their achievements in expanding the boundaries of knowledge and practical applications of science in issues as diverse as child psychology, chemical oceanography and artificial intelligence. Gao's research is focused on developing skin-interfaced wearable biosensors that will enable analytics through sweat rather than blood, leading to non-invasive and real-time analysis and timely medical intervention. [2020 Young Scientists] [Brochure]

Tags: APhMS honors MedE KNI Wei Gao

Michael Yao Receives 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award

05-19-20

Applied physics student Michael Yao, advised by Mikhail Shapiro, Professor of Chemical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute, and Andrei Faraon, Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, is a recipient of the 2020 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. At the intersection between physics and medicine, Michael is interested in how physical and computational tools can be used to enhance the ability to image and treat diseases within the body. This summer, he will be working as a SURF fellow to explore the applications of ultrasound in improving both the safety and efficacy of immunotherapy and other cancer treatments. Encouraged by his mentors and coursework at Caltech, Michael will be pursuing a physician-scientist training program following graduation. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: APhMS honors MedE Henry Ford II Scholar Award KNI Mikhail Shapiro Michael Yao

Electronic Skin Fully Powered by Sweat Can Monitor Health

04-23-20

One of the ways we experience the world around us is through our skin. From sensing temperature and pressure to pleasure or pain, the many nerve endings in our skin tell us a great deal. Our skin can also tell the outside world a great deal about us as well. Wei Gao, Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering has developed an electronic skin, or e-skin, that is applied directly on top of your real skin. "We want this system to be a platform," he says. "In addition to being a wearable biosensor, this can be a human–machine interface. The vital signs and molecular information collected using this platform could be used to design and optimize next-generation prosthetics." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights MedE KNI Wei Gao

New Superconducting Film Resists a Magnet's Power to Thwart It

04-02-20

To Joseph Falson, Assistant Professor of Materials Science, electrons are like exotic supercars and his lab wants to build the racetrack. In Falson's analogy, he likens that to driving the supercar down a cobblestone street that limits its speed. "Our job is not to make the supercar, it's just to make the highway," he says. The problem for those who seek to study superconductivity and eventually make practical use of it is that, so far, it has been realized only at ultracold temperatures no warmer than -70 degrees Celsius. "There is a very strong push to realize room-temperature superconductivity—it is one of the holy grails of science," Falson says, "because then you are going to employ these materials in motors or transmission lines, and the loss would be significantly less. It would revolutionize society." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights KNI Joseph Falson

Tiny Optical Cavity Could Make Quantum Networks Possible

03-31-20

Andrei Faraon, Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, and team have shown that atoms in optical cavities—tiny boxes for light—could be foundational to the creation of a quantum internet. They identified a rare-earth ytterbium ion in the center of a beam. The ytterbium ions are able to store information in their spin for 30 milliseconds. In this time, light could transmit information to travel across the continental United States. "It's a rare-earth ion that absorbs and emits photons in exactly the way we'd need to create a quantum network," says Faraon. "This could form the backbone technology for the quantum internet." [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS EE research highlights KNI Andrei Faraon Andrei Ruskuc Jake Rochman John Bartholomew Yan Qi Huan